Older persons' care as life care : a pastoral assessment of the ecclesia praxis within the African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Africa

Carnow, Jacobus Johannes (2015-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is a pastoral care strategy for the affirmation of the dignity of the poor Black older persons. In this study there is a discussion of how the poor Black older persons suffered the defacement of their dignity under Apartheid and how to a large extent their dignity is still being defaced under the new democratic dispensation in South Africa. These poor Black older persons are victims of various forms of older person abuse. They experience the prejudice of ageism intensely as it is exacerbated by racism; and with no appropriate medical and health strategies in place to provide quality health care; and with inappropriate housing, social services, and residential care services, their dignity is denied. Due to past discriminatory laws and policies these vulnerable older persons suffer the consequences of low levels of formal education within an environment of engineered poverty and racial discrimination which made it impossible for them to enter into quality employment which would enable them to provide adequately for old age. The deprivation thus experienced made it difficult for them to flourish economically and otherwise. At present they are still marginalised and they experience intense forms of loneliness. These poor Black older persons continue to suffer humiliation and indignity in spite of legislation and policies purporting to ensure their well-being. Within a society embracing a neo-liberalist philosophy they are considered unimportant as they do not contribute productively to the economic well-being of the community and are therefore relegated to the lowest ranks of society. With the effacement of their dignity through socially constructed systems their human development is seriously hampered, resulting in a disintegration of human wholeness. The inequality that the poor Black older persons suffer is an indictment against humanity as these older persons have the right to feel at home on the planet. Due to the fact that they are not recognised as having been created in the image and likeness of God, their uniqueness and distinctness as human beings are denied, their identities distorted, and they are not considered worthy citizens. In order to affirm the dignity of the poor Black older persons a practical theological methodology as proposed by Osmer (2008) and consisting of four tasks, has been employed. The notion of a moral economy for the affirmation of the dignity of these poor Black older persons has been utilised. With the moral economy orientation linked with a Liberation Theology methodology the dignity of the poor Black older persons is affirmed as a personal attribute based on the older persons being a category of people being carried into old age by God, enjoying privileged positions of honour and respect, and being eschatological signs and symbols of God’s goodwill towards restored communities in Christ. Within a moral economy the values of reciprocity, responsibility, and interdependence are used to affirm the dignity of these older persons intergenerationally and contextually.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie is ʼn pastorale sorg strategie vir die bevestiging van die menswaardigheid van die arm Swart ouer persone. In hierdie studie word daar aangedui hoe die arm Swart ouer persone se menswaardigheid onder Apartheid en in ‘n groot mate in die nuwe demokratiese dispensasie geskend is. Die arm Swart ouer persone het die slagoffers geword van verskeie vorms van misbruik. Die diskriminasie teen ouderdom word intensief deur hulle ervaar soos dit vererger word deur rassisme; en met geen behoorlike mediese en gesondheidstrategieë in plek om in die behoefte van hierdie kwesbare ouer persone te voorsien nie; en met gebrekkige behuising, sosiale dienste en onvoldoende plekke van sorg vir ouer mense, is die menswaardigheid van hierdie ouer mense erg misken. Weens historiese diskriminerende wette en regeringbeleid ly hierdie kwesbare ouer persone die gevolge van lae vlakke van formele opvoeding binne ‘n omgewing waar armoede kunsmatig geskep is en waar rassediskriminasie geheers het. Hierdie omstandighede het dit vir hulle onmoontlik gemaak om kwaliteit werk te kry wat hulle in staat sou stel om toepaslik vir die ouderdom voor te berei. Die ontberinge wat gevolglik gely word, maak hulle ekonomiese en andersydse ontwikkeling onmoontlik. Hulle is gemarginaliseerd en ly aan intense eensaamheid. Hierdie arm Swart ouer persone gaan voort om vernedering en onmenswaardighede te ly ongeag van wetgewing en beleidstukke bedoel vir hul welsyn. Binne die gemeenskap wat ‘n neoliberalisties filosofie aanvaar, word hierdie ouer mense misken omdat hulle nie produktief tot die ekonomiese welvaart van die gemeenskap bydra nie, en daarom word hulle beskou as sonder enige sosiale kapitaal wat hulle dan sosio-ekonomies op die laagste vlak van die gemeenskap sonder enige erkenning van hulle menswaarde en menswaardigheid plaas. Met die skending van hul menswaardigheid deur sosiaal gekonstrueerde sisteme word hul menslike opbloei ernstig gestrem wat lei tot die disintegrasie van menslike heelheid binne die demokratiese bestel van die Republiek van Suid- Afrika. Die ongelykheid wat die arm Swart ouer mense ly is ‘n klag teen die mensdom omdat hierdie ouer mense ontuis voel op die planeet. Hierdie groep is na die beeld van God geskape, maar hulle uniekheid en besondersheid word miskien. Om die menswaardigheid van hierdie arm Swart ouer mense na te gaan, is ’n praktiese teologiese metodologie gebruik soos voorgestel deur Osmer (2008) en word die vier teologiese take soos deur hierdie metodologie voorgestel, gevolg. Betreffende die vierde taak van hierdie metodologie is die konsep van ’n morele ekonomie gebruik vir die bevestiging van die menswaardigheid van die arm Swart ouer persone. Met die skakel van hierdie morele ekonomiese oriёntering met die Bevrydingsteologiese metodologie is die menswaardigheid van die arm Swart ouer persone bevestig as ’n persoonlike eienskap gebaseer of die feit dat hulle ’n kategorie van mense is wat deur God in die ouderdom gedra word, wat dan bevoorregte posisies van eer en respek geniet as eskatologiese tekens en simbole van God se toegeneëntheid teenoor herstelde gemeenskappe in Christus. Binne ’n morele ekonomie word die waardes van wedersydsheid, verantwoordelikheid, en interafhanklikheid gebruik om die menswaardigheid van hierdie ouer mense intergenerasioneel en kontekstueel te bevestig.

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